Monkey Reviews

Through the Eyes of A Chimp

Monkey Reviews
January 14, 2007
Joyeux Noel (“Merry Christmas”) – Monkey in the Middle

There’s no shortage of “War” movies. I guess you could say there is no shortage of wars. There are war movies that are steeped in battle scenes and military strategy. There are war movies that critique the violent impulse and need for power and control. There are war movies that tell the back-stories spanning the historical landscape and all that goes into creating the skirmish. And there are the war movies that tell the tale of one-lone solider. In many ways Joyeux Noel is a war movie that tells all those stories. It is set in early WWI and sets out to capture the famous true event of Xmas Eve 1914 where there were several occasions of cease fire along the trench lines. Not just a formalized detached cease fire but a stop to fighting that resulted in a coming together of enemies and opposing sides. A cease fire that wasn’t ordered from the voice of officials but a night of peace that came about because of a small seed of courage, faith and the simple fact of what it means to be human caught in a desperate situation. Humans who just so happened to find their identity in being Scottish, French, and German. Any other day, they would share bloodshed and murderous rampage but on this particular night, for reasons only faith can explain, they were able to share music, wine and words of wisdom. On this particular night, enemies in the eyes of the world, were able to share communion.

If I didn’t know it was a true story, I would chalk it up to being a myth, a good myth, told to inspire faith and to instill that warm fellow-feeling. But it is true and it’s one of those true stories that doesn’t make logical sense. The only source of such a happening is the presence of a suffering God, the Holy Spirit who is willing to use music, the lilt of a bagpipe, the laughter that comes from shared stories, and the toast of Champagne to blur enemy lines and bring together what should never have been torn apart – the unity of humanity under the ultimate King.